Sports

N.F.L. Will Allow Six Social Justice Messages on Players’ Helmets

That year, the N.F.L. also began a program called Inspire Change that directs donations to groups focused on police-community relations, criminal justice reform, education and economic advancement. Last year, the N.F.L. said it was nearly tripling the size of its commitment to the program, pledging to spend up to $250 million over 10 years.

Amid the protests set off by Mr. Floyd’s death, Roger Goodell, the N.F.L. commissioner, released a videotaped message last year condemning racism and the systemic oppression of Black people. His message came one day after a group of players had released their own video calling on the league to send just such a message and to “admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting.”

“We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to N.F.L. players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest,” Mr. Goodell said in his message. “We, the National Football League, believe Black lives matter.”

Last year, the league also honored Mr. Floyd, Ms. Taylor, Mr. Arbery and others through an initiative called “Say Their Stories.

Mr. McCarthy said on Saturday that there had been no change in the league’s stance about kneeling during the anthem. Players are “strongly encouraged” to stand for the anthem, he said, but the N.F.L. does not plan to take action against those who choose instead to kneel, raise a fist or remain in the locker room.

“We’ve never fined one player” for kneeling, he said. “No player has ever been disciplined.”

The end-zone slogans, he said, will be featured during every game, except for those that honor specific causes. For example, during a “Salute to Service” game honoring the military, “End Racism” will be replaced with “Salute to Service” in one end zone, and “It Takes All of Us” will remain on the other end zone, he said.

“Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as the Black national anthem, which the N.F.L. played before games in the opening week of last year’s season, will once again be played before the start of this season’s first game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday, Mr. McCarthy said. The song will also be played at the Pro Bowl, the Super Bowl and the N.F.L. draft, he said.



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